As the 6th Circuit upholds gay marriage bans, whats next for America’s LGBTQs?
Yesterday, the 6th circuit court of appeals upheld gay marriage bans in four states, forcing the Supreme Court to weigh in on the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans.
Because the Supreme Court left intact rulings by the 4th Circuit, 7th Circuit and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals striking down same-sex marriage bans in those five states, those appeals courts’ decisions applied to six other states in those three circuits: West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
In a ruling that ought to terrify minorities of all stripes, by a 2 to one ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held that minority rights can in effect be granted or denied based on the vote of the majority through the “democratic process.”
Under the Court’s reasoning, state constitutions – and by extension, the Federal Constitution – can be amended to strip the rights of minorities.
Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, and so forth all should be very concerned by the reasoning of the Court. Their rights, like gay rights are according to the majority ruling subject to the whims and prejudices of the majority of voters.
While the Christofascists are jumping for joy at the ruling – hate merchants Brian Brown and Tony Perkins seemingly are near orgasm – longer term they should be quaking: the day is coming when whites and Christian (certainly conservative Christians) will be in the minority.
|6th Circuit Panel – Judge Daughtrey is at left. Assholes are at center and right|
Applied to its logical limits, the 6th Circuit ruling would allow the non-white, non-Christofascist majority of the future to strip the “godly folk” of their civil rights and treat them as they have so foully treated others (talk about Karma being a bitch). The ruling is so insane that it’s hard to know if the majority wanted to be remembered in the same category as those judges that decided the Dred Scott ruling in the 1800′s or if they are seeking to force the U.S. Supreme Court to make marriage equality nationwide. Metro Weekly looks at the bizarre ruling. Here are highlights:
In a 2-1 decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee are constitutional. The decision reverses rulings by federal district courts striking down same-sex marriage bans in those four states.“In just eleven years, nineteen States and a conspicuous District, accounting for nearly forty-five percent of the population, have exercised their sovereign powers to expand a definition of marriage that until recently was universally followed going back to the earliest days of human history. That is a difficult timeline to criticize as unworthy of further debate and voting,” wrote Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton for the majority. “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”
Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey dissented.“The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy,” Daughtrey wrote in her dissent. “But as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state’s constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is “who should decide?”—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism. In point of fact, the real issue before us concerns what is at stake in these six cases for the individual plaintiffs and their children, and what should be done about it. ““The legacies of Judges Deborah Cook and Jeffrey Sutton will forever be cemented on the wrong side of history,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement.The decision by the 6th Circuit marks the first time a federal appeals court has upheld a state ban on same-sex marriage and presents a split among the circuit courts, which could encourage the Supreme Court to once again take up the issue of same-sex marriage and decide whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in September that if the 6th Circuit allowed same-sex marriage bans to stand “there will be some urgency” for the Supreme Court to step in.Because the Supreme Court left intact rulings by the 4th Circuit, 7th Circuit and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals striking down same-sex marriage bans in those five states, those appeals courts’ decisions applied to six other states in those three circuits: West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
Michael Hamar is an out gay attorney in a committed relationship; formerly married and father of three wonderful children; sometime activist and political/news junkie; survived coming out in mid-life and hope to share my experiences and reflections with others. Follow him at Michael In Norfolk.
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